Buying DVDs just got worse thanks to obnoxious new anti-piracy warnings (pirating movies remains unchanged)


The MPAA and the DHS have teamed up to increase the punishment meted out to people who buy their DVDs instead of downloading the same movies for free from the Internet. Now when you buy a DVD, you'll get twice as many unskippable anti-piracy warnings, including one with a Homeland Security Investigations “special agent” badge next to the FBI badge, as well as a screen telling you that "digital theft harms the economy" and inviting you to visit a taxpayer-funded website that parrots a bunch of unsubstantiated lobbynomics numbers that the MPAA pulled out of its ass.

Only MPAA members are licensed to use these government logos, because other studios are apparently not entitled to a share of whatever imaginary protection the DHS is extending here.

Here's ThreatLevel's David Kravets:

That screen, like the others, presumably will be made unskippable during viewing. The warning says, “Piracy is not a victimless crime. For more information on how digital theft harms the economy, please visit www.iprcenter.gov.” The center’s logo is tough, too, with a hawk clenching a banner that reads “Protection Is Our Trademark”.

Oddly, such warnings are rarely included in versions uploaded and downloaded via P2P networks.

Pirates Beware: DVD Anti-Piracy Warning Now Twice as Fierce

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  1. 1. Start up warnings by inserting disc or pressing play.
    2. Go get your snacks, drinks, bathroom break, whatever while they play.
    3. Come back to movie or menu.

    I know it’s literally the most useless form of protest, but it makes me feel a little better. And it’s good time management. ;-)

    1. 3. Come back to seven or eight possibly unskippable trailers of dated movies you don’t care about.

      4. Pray to deity of choice the disc doesn’t stutter or stop playing altogether during a climactic scene.

      1. Especially on kids movies.  Come on, don’t they know that kids watch these over and over and over and over and over overoverover… sorry, what was I saying?

      2. Upgrade your snacks; they’ll take longer to get ready.

        Seriously, though, what’s this about stuttering/stopping? I’ve had that problem with only one disc in about a decade. Does this unskippable stuff contribute to that? (Honest, if probably stupid, question.)

        1. The stuttering and stopping has mainly plagued me with scratched up Netflix/rental discs. And “plagued” is probably too strong of a word, but you sure remember when it happens. It’s also possible that your player is better than mine. Anyway, I’ve all but sworn off of optical media by now, rarely touch it. It’s 2012, we don’t need moving parts to play media anymore.

          1. You are of course right. I’m just too old to not enjoy my physical collection. (Although I have finally started to put my whole CD library onto iTunes.)

          2. Unless you’re storing everything on flash memory or SSDs, you’re still using moving parts. Hard disks spin you know.

          3.  it was enough of a problem for me that i cancelled the netflix mail/disc service.

            FYI – I don’t know about yours, but my public library has a great movie collection.

      3. hrrrg. netflix is awful for discs crashing. by the way, the eraserhead dvd apparently had an artistic decision to not include any chapter breaks at all. which is fine in principle, but needing to fast-forward to just after the skip actually makes the DVD worse than the VHS.

        1. Yeah, Lynch is not a big fan of chapters:

          “I know that most DVD’s have chapter stops. It is my opinion that a film is not like a book — it should not be broken up. It is a continuum and should be seen as such. Thank you for your understanding.”

          From the inside cover of “The Straight Story”. 

          1. *headdesk*

            Not watching any of his material. Boneheaded reasoning I don’t want to support.

          2. @google-c5868c47252dbe2d7b51541d5f7b6f51:disqus Your loss, dude. 
            And do you really use DVD chapters regularly? I’ve only ever really used them to return to someplace in the movie after having to clean the disc, and chapters usually don’t really help you with that – you end up doing some seeking anyway.

          3. He’s such a crackpot sometimes. People don’t watch a movie in chapters, they just need to get back to where they were!

            He does his best work under someone else “hampering his vision”.

        2. I wasn’t thinking of Netflix discs since I don’t watch so many anymore but yeah, that is a good source of bad discs. (cc royaltrux)

        3.  not all DVD players have them but many have a method of entering the time you want to jump to.  its way worse than chapter jumps BUT may be better than lengthy fast forward or rewinds.

          and who the heck watches Eraserhead more than once 0_O

    2.  4.  Get sick of paying for DVDs that treat customers like children.  Turn off TV and read or go online.

    3. In most of a decade with Netflix, I never got a DVD with garbage that I couldn’t forward through until a couple of months ago.  I’ve had half a dozen since then.

  2. my god, are the mpaa TRYING to be stupid? this is just one more reason not to buy on home video and head straight for piratebay

      1.  Shenzen you say? after Apex died I didn’t know the names of any good off-color disc players, thanx!

        1. Shenzhen is a city in China with a lot of electronics factories; I have no doubt there are Shenzhen “brand” electronics out there but that will certainly not be a sign of quality :)

          1. Yep. I am sure one can find a bunch of oddly branded players there that will skip all this crap, not care a bit about zones, and perhaps even rip and dump the dvd to a internal drive or usb attached storage. Now if they ever find their way west is a different story.

    1. What I never understood is why on Earth so many production featurettes and so on have seeking disabled.  I can understand why copyright messages might be made obligatory viewing, but why the heck shouldn’t I be able to rewind five seconds to hear what the director just said?  A solid reason for using VLC, right there.

    2. What I never understood is why on Earth so many production featurettes and so on have seeking disabled.  I can understand why copyright messages might be made obligatory viewing, but why the heck shouldn’t I be able to rewind five seconds to hear what the director just said?  A solid reason for using VLC, right there.

    3. What I never understood is why on Earth so many production featurettes and so on have seeking disabled.  I can understand why copyright messages might be made obligatory viewing, but why the heck shouldn’t I be able to rewind five seconds to hear what the director just said?  A solid reason for using VLC, right there.

      1. It also happens when you LEGALLY buy a MOVIE TICKET.  You are forced to sit through a “Copying is stealing” PSA while you eat through your $6 popcorn even though you’re only copying the movie to your personal memory.  I guess that one is to warn the projectionist not to rip the film source.

        1. Do they still play those in theaters? Where? 

          I see 10-15 movies a year in the theater (I watch hundreds a year at home) and while I can recall seeing anti-piracy ads, it was maybe only once or twice, and a few years ago. I’ve seen movies in theaters in several different states (primarily NY and CA) and even other countries so I doubt it’s a regional thing.

          I’ll admit I could just be mentally screening them out; I enjoy the movie trailers but my eyes gloss over for everything else. But I saw The Avengers last Friday and while there was an inordinate number of pre-roll ads and trailers, I definitely didn’t see an anti-piracy ad.

          1. The only place I’ve seen them lately is before films screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. (Where, incidentally, they’ve stopped using the phrase “anti-piracy” because they got tired of most of the audience responding with “Arrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!” or other pirate phrases.)

    1. I like that all of this happens after you LEGALLY purchase something.

      It’s like when you call your mother and she yells at you for not calling her more. That’s an incentive. Just not the one that she’s offering.

    1.  Imagine if condoms included an unskipable 2 minutes anti-piracy warning.
      A second baby boom.

  3. I just wish they would never show that annoying blue background 1977 ripped from a VHS warning ever again. These ones are just white noise to me at this point.

  4. I love how their solution to “people are not buying our product” is to make said product even worse than the competition. And these people are supposedly capitalists?

    1. And these people are supposedly capitalists?

      They are, but it’s worse than that: they’re incumbent monopolist* capitalists.

      [*Copyright = monopoly.]

        1. That’s exactly what’s wrong with them. 
          “This always worked before!” “Yeah, but you know, the internet”
          “Well, get the lobbyists on making this “internet” illegal then!””How about we change the business?””Are you kidding, I’m in my 50s and I’m accustomed to sitting on my ass making millions, I’m not going to learn a bunch of new stuff or spend my hard-earned fortune on R&D, the lawyers can fix all this! This internet is just a fad anyway!”

          It’s laziness, inertia, these companies are way too big and set in their ways (top heavy) to ever adapt to a fast-changing environment like the ‘net. They know this very well, so they’re fighting for their survival in the only way they know how. What consoles me about the whole situation is that they can’t keep up the lawsuits forever, they don’t have unlimited war chests, and they’re up against youth, common cultural practice, and you know, common sense. They are destined to lose. We are living through their death throes, right now.

  5. I’m kind of appalled at the pile of garbage front-loaded on movie discs these days. I bought a blu-ray of a popular film recently (a pretty rare occurrence for me) and there was literally 8 or 9 screens of logos/trailers/ads that you had to sit/skip through before getting to the movie menu. It made me very glad that I prefer independent films these days, whose releases typically minimize this kind of practice (and when they do have trailers before the menu they tend to be for movies that are actually interesting).

    1. One thing that I’ve found particularly obnoxious is the DVDs for Dexter.  There are twelve episodes, so they divide them up into three, four, four and one plus a couple of episodes of other Showtime series that I didn’t rent.  It’s just sleazy.

  6. That’s why I stick to books, good ole fashion books I borrow from my local library. No ads, warnings, trailers or logos… and they are free. (although I do enjoy a movie now and then, like the Avengers… awesome!)

    1. Wrong! It’s become quite normal now to stick in the first chapter of an unrelated book by the same author. Of course, it’s at the end and you can just skip it, but publishers are doing it, too.

  7. If you watch your movies on a Windows system you can purchase AnyDVD from http://www.slysoft.com which enables the ability to skip these annoying adverts. It also enables you to make a backup copy of your DVD or Blu-Ray that has these stripped out.

    DISCLAIMER:

    I’m not a Windows bigot, this just what I’m familiar with; hopefully there are solutions for other platforms.

    1. I just rip mine with DVD Shink, mount the iso with Magic Disc and do with it as I please…

      For those discs with a corrupted file table copy protection scheme, I use VLC to stream it to a file..

    2. I just rip mine with DVD Shink, mount the iso with Magic Disc and do with it as I please…

      For those discs with a corrupted file table copy protection scheme, I use VLC to stream it to a file..

    3. I just rip mine with DVD Shink, mount the iso with Magic Disc and do with it as I please…

      For those discs with a corrupted file table copy protection scheme, I use VLC to stream it to a file..

  8. Frankly I don’t understand the general logic in streaming/renting Netflix vs. torrenting a film.  I mean if I can rent it from Netflix, and I have an active account what’s the difference? (assuming the same film is available to torrent and from Netflix.)

    -I mean I just rip my Netflix discs and send them back the next day anyway.

  9. Frankly I don’t understand the general logic in streaming/renting Netflix vs. torrenting a film.  I mean if I can rent it from Netflix, and I have an active account what’s the difference? (assuming the same film is available to torrent and from Netflix.)

    -I mean I just rip my Netflix discs and send them back the next day anyway.

    1.  Im curious if you can easily rip blue ray disks from netflix into a size that is comparable (and of good quality) to that of TPB

        1. You’re fussy. H.264 encoded blu-ray rips are indistinguishable from original discs, to my eyes. 

          1. I’m talking about re-encoded rips… and you’re right, sometimes action scenes do get a little messed up. I guess it doesn’t tend to bother me since I’m more of a “people talking” kind of movie lover :) 

          2.  I like those movies too, but I also like sitting right up at the screen so it fills my vision like the cinema. Visible artefacting always catches my eye and takes me out.

          3. @theLadyfingers:disqus

            I’m not sure what you are even asking…

            Bit-for-bit IS identical to the original…and really the original is already compressed.  It’s not like you are starting with an uncompressed/lossless original.  If done well and using the correct settings you shouldn’t see much if any change from the original.  However to achieve that you might only save 30% of the original file size.  In order to achieve some of the bit rates that torrented videos use you are going to have to sacrifice some level of quality for the reduction in file size.

            In the end it is simply trading off downloading 20+gigs or 8 gigs.  Besides it’s not like anyone is paying to torrent movies….

        2. Cause I want to watch it…not archive it.

          I compress dvd’s down to around 1gig, which looks and works fine on my TV.  Obviously YMMV.  Now if I really liked the movie and wanted to watch it over and over I’d buy the DVD/Blu- ray.

      1. I don’t have a Blu-ray player/burner on my computer (or in my home) so I don’t do HD Netflix rentals either, but to answer your question:

        Sure I don’t see why it’s not possible.  I don’t use all-in-one programs like HandBrake, just cause I like having more control over the whole process.  In general I compress a standard DVD (4-6 gig rip) down to around 1-1.5 gig using MeGui into a MKV file with H.264 compression and MP3 sound (cause I don’t have a 5.1 system hooked up currently).  So depending on what formats and the like you are looking at storing a blu-ray on it shouldn’t be hard to do 6G (at 1080P, 720 would be less).  Obviously depending on the movie length and type it might vary between 4+ to say 8 or more.

        It also matters in how you want to play the video back as well. If you are using a PC or pc like device then you have a fairly broad collection fo file containers and formats. If you want a DVD/Blu-Ray player that will play a video file, then it needs to be formatted in a more specific way. Sometimes this means sacrificing potential quality/space for compatibility.

    2. I rarely watch more than 15 to 30 minutes per day. The physical DVD suits my viewing habits quite well.

  10. Buy a DVD; get your DVD player hijacked by these assholes and pay for the privilege.

    Or break copyright and don’t get treated like a chump.

  11. Pretty sure this is just shouting at a wall.. no one actually buys movies on DVD anymore do they? 

    I don’t pirate movies but I don’t buy them anymore either.. there’s so many legal streaming options these days I don’t see the point.

    1. Oh I do.  (Then again, I’m old.)  The used DVD market is really quite cheap, you can resell or trade the things you buy, and it’s actually pretty easy to rip it and make a DRM-free digital copy that you can watch anywhere with nary a glitch.

      (Also, streaming seems to still suck for anything with subtitles. Let me know when I can stream opera!)

      Subscribing to a streaming service stresses me out, because I feel like I have to watch a certain amount to “get my money’s worth.”  Stockpiling a dozen DVDs means always having some good stuff on hand that I can watch if and when I damn well feel like it.

      1.  If you read the legal babble on that videos, you’ll see that, for MAFIAA, you selling the discs you legally bought is illegal.

        Expect in future things like the “used game protection” that the  PS4 and the next XBOX’ll implement: you’ll not be able to play a game that was bought for someone. The game disc will be associated to a specific console, and will not run on any other.

    2. I buy DVD. Mostly ue to the fact it’s very rare that I can actually tell a difference between standard and high deff (there ARE instances though, like with Tron Legacey’s Grid Flyover.)

      This is mostly due to poor vision mind you.

      1. It also really depends on the source as well.  Tron (or anything newer) was probably filmed and setup to have the maximum detail with 1080p.  Now I like Farscape, which was originally release on DVD, so good old 480.  They have release a blu-ray edition, but it is technically an upsample from some PAL master recording, not the original footage.  So in that case there isn’t much detail gained, just bigger files.

        TV shows from the 80’s aren’t going to look vastly better in HD vs. SD.

    3. I know this is woefully old-fashioned of me, but I prefer physical media over digital media.  Since I’m a physical person instead of an online consciousness, physical media just has more permanence due to occupying the same plane of existence that I do, where it can’t be suddenly destroyed by a blackout or other computer disaster.  Plus, to hold something in your hands is to actually own it, while digital media has been trying to subvert that since its invention.

      I have a Steam account and find digital media convenient to an extent, but I think it’s meant to supplement physical media rather than outright replace it.  I actually find digital media to be fundamentally flawed because it’s all made of the same material: intangible electrical pulses and bytes.  Imagine, if you will, if the world and everything in it, from creatures to buildings, was made of water.  Such a world would be easily to manipulate, right?  You could reinforce your defenses all you want, but in the end they’d still be made of the same material that every reasonably smart person would know how to control.

      1. I have the same feeling. (Plus, having something like DVD or LaserDisc satisfies that part of my urge to collect stuff that likes shiny round things.)

  12. As a young’un it sometimes seemed to me that the only purpose of INTERPOL was to hunt down people illegally exhibiting VHS tapes, as the warnings at the time were the only time I ever heard that organization referred to.  Those were the days.

  13. As a young’un it sometimes seemed to me that the only purpose of INTERPOL was to hunt down people illegally exhibiting VHS tapes, as the warnings at the time were the only time I ever heard that organization referred to.  Those were the days.

    1. INTERPOL has always been the go-to agency for art and jewelry thefts in crime novels. Even if they’re not strictly, you know, an agency. 

    2. I was on a flight to Cairo once with a non-change stopover in Frankfurt. Interpol came on board and arrested all the flight attendants. Apparently, it was a drug ring.

    1. They’re shiny disc like things, I think… I’ve haven’t used one in years. I have broadband.

  14. It would actually be hilarious if somebody started including these warnings intact in their pirated cuts, but replace the logo with this fellow.

  15. they take turns saying outright and also implying that its the ripping that’s the crime.

    What they don’t understand is that there are not multiple purchasers who rips and distributes the disk, at best there is 10 or 20 people doing that. 

    the average home user is ripping solely for themselves which people see as legal (I don’t) or they are never seeing a physical copy at all and fetching one of the standardized downloadable copies that have been vetted by millions of other downloaders.

    so address 20 or so people and piss off the remaining legit purchasers you have?

    *sigh*  dumbasses

  16. Who is more likely to give you grief over pirating videos?  These corporations, or the average person on the street?

    These corporations aren’t stupid.  It is much more cost-effective to have citizens attacking each other over non-crimes than it is to pursue legal action against individual offenders.

    By punishing the otherwise legitimate consumer, they sow the seeds of social attack.

    Instead of calling people “stupid” or “lazy,” it’s worth exploring the rational (though amoral) calculus involved in this sort of thing.

    All of this propaganda and provocation of horizontal attack serves one major purpose: to mask the gun in the room.

    1. These corporations aren’t stupid.

      Say what?

      According to Mittens Romney, corporations are people, and I’d say that they’re behaving plenty stupid.

  17. I don’t pirate. I merely preserve/archive data and evaluate software sometimes.

    1.  It’s because of people like you that future civilizations will be able to find out what we were like long after we’ve driven ourselves to extinction.

  18. I have not seen one of these since maybe 2001, they are pretty easy to avoid when you pirate everything you watch. Good job punishing the people who are actually buying this stuff

  19. Department of Homeland Security.
     
    What does the Department of Homeland Security have to do with the piracy of DVDs?
     
    I Thought the DHS was created in response to the terrorist attacks in New York city on Sept. 11, 2001. Annnnd now it’s all about… copying DVDs? Really?
     
    Serious genuine question: Why is the DHS involved with this at all?

  20. DVD+HandBrake+HTPC=Whocares.

    Or you can buy the DVD, leave it wrapped, and torrent an unencrypted version if it helps your conscience. For myself, every DVD I’ve ever bought has had it’s first stop in the PC since PCs were fast enough to rip real-time.

  21. “Twice as many” as in “two instead of one” is bad enough, but still nothing compared to the multilingual DVDs used in many non-English-speaking countries. I’ve rented DVDs with copyright messages being displayed in 40-50 different languages, in total 15 minutes of unskippable shit.

    1. Nuff said…

      This happens all the time here in Brazil.

      Space that the majors waste with this crap and could be used for extras or other cool stuff that could turns their products even more profitable, as people would pay for this.

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